NEC Powermate S7000-003
Stylish and basic business PC.
- Looks stylish when positioned as a tower, relatively easy to work on, energy efficient
- Has a standard desktop-style optical drive, no media card reader, uses a 65nm CPU instead of a 45nm CPU, very limited expansion options
While it's not perfect, NEC's Powermate S7000-003 is a capable machine for the office that undertakes basic, everyday tasks.
Price$ 1,349.00 (AUD)
Described by NEC as being "sensuously slim", the PowerMate S7000 can also be described as being "deceptively heavy" and "not optimally designed". It's a business machine that's designed to be used either as a slim tower or as a flat desktop with a monitor on top, and for the computing power you get it's probably a tad too big.
It measures 34x34cm and is 8cm thick, so it's not really a space-saving design. If you lay it flat on a desk and put the monitor on top, it's still going to take up a 34cm square, and if you leave it as a tower, it will still require a depth of more than 34cm. However, it does look good and it is functional. The front of the case has a desktop-sized DVD burner, as well as two USB 2.0 ports and a huge power button. It is missing a media card reader, which is an essential piece of kit in some offices, and we do wish it shipped with a slimline, notebook-style DVD burner, as this would be easier to use if the unit is used as a tower.
Its steel case is sturdy, and the front cover slides off towards the front, exposing a centre-partitioned chassis with the optical drive and power supply on one side, and the motherboard on the other. Its configuration is made up of a 2.4GHz Intel Core 2 Duo E4600 CPU, 2GB of RAM, a 160GB hard drive and an NVIDIA nForce 630i chipset–based motherboard with integrated GeForce 7100 graphics. It's not super quick, but it's suitable for everyday office applications.
In WorldBench 6 it recorded a score of 80, which means it will handle office applications, including multitasking, with ease, but you probably won't want to use it for anything too taxing. In saying that, it can be used for some media encoding and basic 3-D rendering, as its times of 1min 14sec and 1min 17sec in our iTunes and Blender tests, respectively, can attest. These scores are almost identical to a similarly configured laptop, such as HP's EliteBook 6930P (FW086PA) . In 3DMark06 the machine scored a paltry 362, which means it can't be used for any effective gaming or other on-the-fly 3-D rendering.
Power usage peaked at 81W when both of the CPU's cores were under a full load, while the machine consumed 49W when idle. It would be interesting to see this unit's power efficiency had NEC installed a 45 nanometre–based CPU instead of the 65 nanometre one it has used. Either way, these are relatively low usage figures, and they should be, as there is not a whole lot to this system.
While it's running the machine won't make too much noise, apart from a slight whirr from the power supply's fan and a ticking sound from the hard drive. The CPU fan is relatively wide, so it is not loud at all.
Getting the cover off the unit is a simple exercise: simply unlock the release levers and pull the cover forward. Of course, this needs to be done while the unit is flat on the desk. The layout of the chassis is clean and there aren't any cables cluttering the internal space. The motherboard's two DIMM slots are occupied by 1GB RAM modules, so these will have to be replaced if you want to install the maximum 4GB.
The chipset is cooled by a heat sink, and it gets somewhat warm after prolonged use, and the hard drive is attached to a bracket above the rear of the motherboard. You do need tools to remove the hard drive and the optical drive, but there aren't any fiddly mechanisms to figure out while conducting an upgrade.
For connectivity, you don't get much. It has the afore-mentioned USB ports at the front (which won't support an external USB 2.0 hard drive even if the data and power USB cables are plugged in to them), and it has four more at the back. Also on the back are PS/2, Gigabit Ethernet, parallel, serial, audio and D-Sub ports. You don't get a DVI port, but the D-Sub port can run a high-definition monitor without too much of a fuss. Moving windows around while the resolution is at 1920x1200 does cause some jittering.
What it all comes down to is style. This PC won't necessarily be a space saver, but it does look good, and it is relatively easy to work on. It's a decent machine for an office that has basic computing needs but isn't willing to splurge on laptops.
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